Mitch McConnell Hopes You Won't Do the Math

mcconnell-mitch.jpgIn response to President Obama's "what took him so long?" recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded thus, according to CNN:

"President Obama, in an unprecedented move, has arrogantly circumvented the American people by 'recess' appointing Richard Cordray as director of the new CFPB," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement.

Let's take this in order:

"Unprecedented move"? There is some technical dispute about when the Congress is and is not in recess. But the only thing "unprecedented" about Obama's use of recess appointments is how rarely he has done it. According to the Congressional Research Service, Bill Clinton made 139 recess appointments in 8 years, and George Bush made 171. According to Wikipedia (only source I immediately found), Obama made 28 in his first three years -- or less than half of Bush's rate, 9+ per year versus 21+.

"Arrogantly circumvented"? At the moment, Obama is the elected president of the United States. The Consumer Financial Protection Board was approved by both houses of Congress and duly signed into law by the president. There is no doubt that Cordray would receive a majority Senate vote in favor of his appointment -- if the nomination were ever allowed to come to a vote. And Obama is the one "arrogantly circumventing" Constitutional processes and the American people? Seriously, this kind of thing need to be called out for what it is: nonsense.

Thanks to WRM of Louisiana.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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